Measuring one’s degree of marijuana impairment has long been an interest of not only scientists, but law enforcement prosecutors and some employers. Many thought there could be a parallel to alcohol testing; but instead of measuring one’s blood-alcohol concentration they could measure the amount of THC (the primary psychoactive component of cannabis) in one’s blood. The big problem with this, of course, is that THC doesn’t behave in the body the same way alcohol does. It isn’t processed as quickly. Thus, it’s not an accurate measure of one’s degree of impairment.
This is something our Los Angeles marijuana DUI attorneys have argued for years. Now, this same conclusion was backed by a federally-funded study. Backed by a grant from the National Institute of Justice, researchers tested the THC levels of 20 individuals who either vaporized or ate varying levels of THC. They were then subjected to numerous cognitive and field sobriety tests, similar to what are used by law enforcement.
The groups that received higher doses of THC (above 5 mg) were adversely impacted in terms of their sobriety – their psychomotor skills were visibly impaired – the level of THC in their blood and other biofluids didn’t reliably reflect that. Thus, the amount of THC in one’s blood was not a good indicator of marijuana intoxication. Continue reading